Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weekend Double-Feature: Crimson Twice Victorious on the Charles



This week's double-feature comes to us from the Charles River in Boston, where the Harvard men's varsity eight held off Princeton in new head coach Charley Butt's first home race to win the Compton Cup by roughly half a length. Harvard took the look early, but Princeton held on very well, and going into the final 500 meters, the Tigers made a great charge for the line and closed the gap on the Crimson—especially impressive given the challenging conditions and being on the road.



Following the race above, the Radcliffe women's lightweight varsity eight (officially the Black and White) dealt Stanford their first loss of the season, despite the Cardinal taking an early lead. While the result may shake up the rankings, Stanford had a similar experience in Boston last year, but bounced back at the IRA regatta to win for the fourth straight time. As expected, these two crews look to be the cream of the crop again this year, with Wisconsin and BU battling it out in a close race down the course, back of the race leaders.

Lots of collegiate racing going on this weekend as we begin to draw near to championship racing season. Look for reaction, opinion, and analysis from the weekend next week right here on RR, and keep an eye on our Twitter feed for more updates along the way.

[Update]:

The Radcliffe lightweight women's rowing squad wore pink socks for the racing today in support of Linda Muri, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Muri is battling bravely—still on to race the Boston Marathon, and you can follow and support her as well via her blog:

ihopetheycaughtitintime.blogspot.com

From Muri's blog:
Next up, the Boston Marathon, bib # 28447, wave 4. As long as I feel ok for the rest of the weekend - and a few key results on the water could only add to to that, ahem, HVL and HFL - I'll be going for the run on Monday. Cautiously, of course. The need to finish is overridden by my desire for survival at all costs. And, honestly, the training, this winter especially, was my way of honoring the commitment I made on April 15, 2013, to run this year, April 21, 2014, along with demonstrating the resiliency and strength of Boston, Watertown, and all those involved in the mayhem that came to be that week last year. Yes, I'd love to run, hardly anything would make me more delighted at this point in time than conquering a most terrifying obstacle that I have actually placed in my path, not something that just appeared, but I also know that I have to be smart. Carry on!
All the best to Muri—we, and the rest of the rowing community, are pulling for you and are, as ever, impressed and humbled by your strength.

-RR

Saturday, April 12, 2014

[Photos] San Diego Crew Classic, 2014: RR Editors' Picks



This year's running of Crew Classic in San Diego was marked, more than anything, by large margins in the marquee races, and saw defending champions on the men's and women's sides take titles once again on Mission Bay. While we didn't post picks and predictions for San Diego this year, it was a good measuring stick for our preseason rankings. And, while there were a few surprises, in most cases the results confirmed our suspicions.

At the collegiate level, arguably the most impressive performances of the regatta came from the California men and the Washington women—while UW didn't manage to wrestle the Jessop-Whittier Cup from USC's vise-grip, the Huskies and Golden Bears showed off their depth as well as excellent top-end speed over the course of the two-day regatta. The Cal men's varsity eight (RR preseason No. 1) absolutely dominated the Copley Cup final, winning by roughly eight seconds over Northeastern ( RR No. 5), who finished eight seconds ahead of Stanford (RR No. 8). On the women's side, Washington (our preseason No. 5) placed second in the varsity eight, second in the 2V, and won the women's novice eight event. The Trojan women showed that they will be a force once again, winning the varsity eight and both varsity four events, and placing a close third in the 2V grand final. Hometown favorites USD also posted strong results, even edging Wisconsin and UCLA in the varsity eight to take fourth overall.

At the Cal Cup level, our ACRA preseason No. 3 Grand Valley State took the title by just over a length, while on the women's side a transplanted Canadian rivalry saw British Columbia edge the University of Victoria for the crown by roughly three seconds. In the lightweight events, our preseason No. 1 Stanford lightweight women looked very strong, winning their fourth straight Crew Classic, and will likely be competing for a fifth consecutive IRA title this spring, while Purdue took an open water victory over the field on the men's side.

Junior rowing in California is always strong, and once again Marin and Oakland were duking it out for the podium on Mission Bay. This year, Oakland won a double victory in the women's events, taking the varsity and second varsity, while Marin matched this feat on the men's side, also adding a victory in the junior lightweight eight. Long Beach Junior Crew, Marina AC and Newport AC also had strong showings, with Long Beach winning the junior women's lightweight eight and defending their 2013 title.

For complete results, please visit the official website of the San Diego Crew Classic.

-RR

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Video Of The Week: Recapping the Boat Race, 2014



This week's video comes to us from the Tideway, where yet another Boat Race was marked by a singular incident that proved to be, as Henri Cartier-Bresson might have described it, "the decisive moment." Once again, the race was more closely contested than most thought it would be through the early stages—much like the first half of the now infamous 2012 Boat Race, which was later marred by outside interference, and then by a disastrous clash that sheared off a blade in the Oxford boat—only to finish in a veritable parade.

The disappointing thing is that we didn't get to see a true reflection of Cambridge's speed over the full course. It's no-one's fault—take a look at the slow-motion replay in the video to fully comprehend just what a freak accident it was—as a host of circumstances conspired to make for the worst possible outcome: just as Luke Juckett is squaring his blade to the water, Oxford seven-man Sam O'Connor's blade emerges from the water, barely clipping the bottom edge of the light blue hatchet, but with enough force to cause Juckett's blade to do a 180 degree turn, resulting in an immediate crab. Could the Cambridge coxswain, Ian Middleton, have played it safe and not tried to prevent Oxford from breaking away? Yes, but both coxswains were being aggressive throughout the early stages.

"I'm actually surprised with how much work the umpire is having to do," said Matthew Pinsent during the first quarter of the race. "Both crews are coming together quite a lot, and he's having to warn both crews apart to keep the race as clean as he can."

If you're already the underdog, you can't back down, and you need to take as much advantage of the stream as possible. The unfortunate thing was that unlike most clashes, this was so minor—a clip more than a clash—and yet it had catastrophic results for Cambridge. Yes, we expected that the winner would be Oxford, and by a significant margin, but could this have been a classic in the making?

(Well, judging by caliber of the Dark Blues, as well as the outcome of the reserves race, probably not. Taking nothing away from the outstanding job that Sean Bowden does to train and develop athletes, this battle was won during the recruiting process.)

Here's what everyone else is saying about it:
The BNY Mellon Boat Race Report 6th April 2014 —The Boat Race
The Boat Race 2014: Oxford University claim biggest win over Cambridge since 1973 —The Telegraph
Big Boat Race win for Oxford —World Rowing
Boat Race 2014: Oxford emphatically beat Cambridge —BBC Sport
[Photos] A selection of images from the 2014 Boat Race —Rowing Photography
Images of the 160th Boat Race, Part 1: The Prelude —Hear The Boat Sing

Have a submission for 'Video Of The Week?' Shoot us an email at rowingrelated [at] gmail [dot] com, send us your suggestions via Twitter, or get in touch via our Facebook or Google+ pages.

-RR

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Boat Race Prediction: A Darker Shade of Blue



The 160th Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race is upon us, and it wouldn't be right if we didn't throw our hat into the ring and offer a prediction for today's outcome. Given the experience, horsepower, and recent history for Oxford, we're backing the Dark Blue to repeat as champions in 2014, this time by a margin of five lengths. From top to bottom, the Oxford lineup is fantastic on paper, and looks to be living up to that potential given the results from their Tideway fixtures. Cambridge will have a tall task before them, and will no doubt put up a valiant fight, but over the course of four miles (and in potentially rough conditions) the experience and caliber of the Dark Blue crew will more than likely make this an open water victory. (And, based on the results of our RR reader poll, 80% of you agree.)

The race is set for 1755 GMT. The veterans races yesterday saw a trio of victories for Cambridge. You can follow all the action via Twitter (@theboatrace), and keep an eye on Instagram as well (@rowingphotography). For more information, see the official website of the BNY Mellon Boat Race.

-RR

Friday, April 4, 2014

RR Updates: Boat Race, Crew Classic This Weekend, and Thanks a Million


A little while ago, we reached another milestone here at RR, and, well, we're pretty chuffed about it. Last month, we crossed the 1 million pageview mark, and we'd like to say thank you for reading, viewing, sharing, commenting, and just generally being a member of what we like to think of as the RowingRelated community. Hard to believe that it all began with this post, our Statement of Purpose, in October of 2010. So, thanks a million, everyone!

The weekend ahead is loaded with on-the-water action on both sides of the pond, with the 2014 San Diego Crew Classic taking over Mission Bay, and the BNY Mellon Boat Race pitting rival shades of blue against one another for the 160th time. We'll be on the beach in San Diego to catch the racing in Southern California—look for social media updates throughout the weekend (see here for the schedule/draw)—and in the meantime, don't forget to vote in our Boat Race poll. Who's your pick to reach Mortlake first this year?

-RR